Here's an interesting thing I discovered while glancing over my annual malpractice insurance renewal form (to the tune of $7000). Along with the usual litany of intrusive questions like When did you stop beating your wife? or How many human body parts do you have in your freezer right now? came a new one: Do you have a website?
Fortunately the malpractice slate is clean, although I realize that these days that is as much a matter of luck as anything else. Last year was the first time I had to arrange my own malpractice insurance, having been covered institutionally before that. I don't recall that question last year. Now it appears after Do you communicate with patients by email?
Does hosting a blog make one a higher malpractice risk? If I were "anonymous" it would be easier to lie on the form without being immediately found out, but as there have been instances of anonymous bloggers being unmasked (to put it a tad melodramatically), I could still be risking losing coverage if I answered untruthfully.
As I've suggested before, for many folks blogging is just an extension of other forms of publication. The insurance application does not ask Have you written case reports for academic journals? Is this just because your average patient is much more likely to Google your name than to wander through the university library stacks?
What if I hosted a blog on, say, orchids--would that be somehow more innocuous? Or does the mere fact of a professional's name on a blog--any blog--suggest that he is a loose cannon in some way? Unfiltered by traditional media, he could, any day--in the next ten minutes even--type something so appalling as to invite universal and timeless opprobrium, a great carcass thrown out for the vultures...